Dr Deborah Birx: White House virus expert quits over holiday travel
Deborah Birx at a White House briefing on July 8, 2020
A senior White House coronavirus task force official has announced that she will be retiring after it is found she hosted a holiday meeting.
64-year-old Dr. Deborah Birx quoted the criticism she had for a family reunion over Thanksgiving in Delaware when she decided to step aside.
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"That experience was a bit overwhelming," she said. "It was very difficult for my family."
Dr. Birx had reportedly been looking for a job with US President-elect Joe Biden.
As a world-famous AIDS researcher, she has worked in the US government since the Reagan administration.
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In an interview with US news channel Newsy, which aired on Tuesday, a masked Dr. Birx didn't say when she would resign but said she would help the incoming Biden administration and "and then I'll retire".
In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, she had urged Americans to confine meetings to "their immediate household."
But it turned out on Sunday that she had traveled from Washington to one of her other properties on Fenwick Island, Delaware, where three generations of her family from two households came to see her.
While in Delaware, she interviewed CBS in which she stated that while traveling, some Americans had made "mistakes" about Thanksgiving and "should assume they were infected".
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, whose director often briefs with Dr. Birx stood on the podium, the Americans warned not to travel over the holidays.
In light of the rising US coronavirus case numbers, the agency is also warning against indoor gatherings with people from different households.
Dr. Birx had insisted that she go to the Delaware property to prepare it for a possible sale, although she admitted to sharing a meal with her family during the visit.
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She explained to Newsy her decision to meet with her husband, daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren: "My daughter hasn't left this house in 10 months, my parents have been isolated for 10 months.
"You have become deeply depressed, as I am sure many elderly people could not see their sons, their granddaughters.
"My parents haven't been able to see their surviving son for over a year. These are all very difficult things."
According to the Associated Press news agency, Dr. Birx has another house in Potomac, Maryland where her parents live and where Dr. Visited Birx from time to time.
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